Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

Deck the Halls! November 28, 2021

It’s that time of year again! Time to deck the halls! Our kids were ready to decorate for Christmas the day we got back from Disneyland. The Christmas magic they experienced at Disneyland definitely inspired them! Our family has no rules for when Christmas decorations are allowed to come out. It changes year to year based on our schedule. This year we needed to recover from Disneyland before diving into Christmas mode. We don’t mind waiting until after Thanksgiving (but we also don’t mind decorating before Thanksgiving either – no rules).

Speaking of Thanksgiving, we enjoyed a day full of family and yummy food. We were back to our pre-pandemic schedule of two family gatherings in one day. It’s was the first time that our family has joined my extended family for a gathering since Christmas 2019. It was good to be back to “normal” but I forgot how long it can make a day when you hop from gathering to gathering. Seeing family was worth the effort, though! It was a great day and we certainly have a lot to be thankful for!

Getting back to school to after Disneyland was a bit of a struggle. If it didn’t mean going to school until the end of June, I would have just declared us on holiday vacation until January. It was nice to come back to a short week and a holiday weekend. Just three more weeks of school until Christmas break! That seems like forever, but I know it will go by in a blink (at least, I hope so)! Jeremy was offered a sabbatical for the month of December. Our family is excited to have extra time together during this special time of year. We are looking forward to Christmas activities and outings as well as plenty of time around the house enjoying Christmas movies, books, and treats! It’s such a joyful season and we are ready for it! Bring on all things Christmas!

PS – You’ll notice that Disneyland has seeped into our Christmas celebration this year. We got matching Christmas Mickey pajamas for our trip. At Disneyland, we picked up a Mickey ornament for our tree. Once we got home, we picked more Mickey ornaments and a Disney advent book. Our Christmas cards will also feature Mickey this year. Our annual photo ornament has been ordered with pictures from our vacation. Disney is our theme this holiday season!

Cookies of the Month for November! Sweet as pie!
I made 59 cookies this last week (gotta love that odd total). I brought them to each family gathering and made some for a friend. This photo features 2/3 of them decorated for Thanksgiving day.
Graham is my official cookie taste tester!
Cousin time at Thanksgiving!
The Scott Family – Thanksgiving 2021
It’s going to be a very Disney Christmas this year!
Each year they get a new ornament to put on their mini trees in their bedrooms. Mickey Mouse was an obvious choice this year!
Placing the star on top of the tree is such a dramatic moment…
The tree is officially decorated!
They are a little amped up for Christmas!
Grandma got them this LEGO wreath at The LEGO Store in Downtown Disney. Such a fun project and super festive. It also can be made into an advent wreath with LEGO candles!
The nativity set and the Christmas train have met… I keep reminding the boys that Baby Jesus isn’t allowed on the tracks.
Beautiful sunrise this morning!
 

Around the House November 14, 2021

Filed under: Family Time,Homeschool Adventures,Parenthood,Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 2:48 pm

We spent our last week around the house. I often start to say we had a quiet week, but that would refer to our schedule and not the actual volume level of our home. Being in a homeschool season with two young boys is a loud season of life. This week we kept the chaos to ourselves and enjoyed a week around the house. After a busier beginning to November, I didn’t mind flipping to the other extreme. I’m all about the chill home vibes.

With a week around the house, the major highlights of the week were obviously not our big outings. It was a week of smaller joys. Jeremy put up our Christmas lights on Monday (in the dark… not recommended, but it worked out). This year we went for the gingerbread look of red and white lights. We got new phones which was really the biggest highlight of the week. Our phones were six years old and the battery life on them was poor. Also, as the main photographer of our family, I was looking forward to getting a camera upgrade. I’ve spent the week adapting to the small changes of my new phone. I’m enjoying the longer battery life and fancy camera!

The boys spent the week chugging through school, playing like pros, and watching Disney movies. We’ve been watching some of the older Disney movies as research for our future trip to Disneyland. Over the last few of weeks we’ve watched Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, Bambi, Aladdin, Cars, 101 Dalmatians, and Alice in Wonderland. We don’t usually watch so many movies, but we’re calling it research. The kids are getting a Disney education. We’ve had plenty of time to snuggle in for movies because the weather has been super wet. We collected puddles around our property and our septic alarm went off twice due to the high water level. We took a drive on Friday to pick up some library books, get a red cup, and look at the puddles and rivers around town.

Well, an around the house week makes for a shorter blog. Not too much more to say. A slower pace to chill at home still stirs my soul even after so much time here. I’m glad we’ve had this time around the house because the second half of November will pick up the pace. Good thing we’re well rested and ready for it!

We did Operation Christmas Child online again this year. The boys had a blast picking out what to add to the shoeboxes!
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
The boys wanted me to take their pictures with my new phone!
The boys wanted me to take their pictures with my new phone!
Plenty of time at home means busting out a new pack of Play-Doh. I threw away all the dried out Play-Doh while the boys made sushi with the fresh pack.
Introduction to Alice in Wonderland
We don’t usually get puddles in our backyard so you know it was a rainy few days!
Out of the house for a quick drive! It was extra nice with a peppermint hot chocolate!
It’s been a while since we’d watched the original Cars. Owen was obsessed with Cars 2 when he was two. We didn’t watch the original quite as much.
My favorite way to spend a Saturday morning. Devotional, non-fiction, fiction, and a journal! Time to read is the best part of being home.
 

Kicking Off November! November 7, 2021

Filed under: Family Time,Homeschool Adventures,Parenthood,Travels — Amy Scott @ 1:14 pm

What a start to November! I didn’t plan for the week to be as full as it turned out to be. Lots of good things, but a bit too much after a big event the weekend before. We had no plans yesterday and our family just hung out around the house and rested. It was such a necessary day. Okay, let’s jump into the highs and lows of this last week!

Monday was a Halloween hangover day. I didn’t expect Fall Fest prep to take as much out of me as it did. The kids had decent attitudes, but I was too ambitious in our plans for the day. The craft I planned for school said age 4+ on the box, but honestly it was age 40+. I helped the kids assemble their foam tree houses and they were appreciative when I got them to the decoration stage. Ever have a child’s craft almost break you? Only me? After quiet time, we went down to the church to help Jeremy tidy up from Fall Fest. The lollipop game still had balloons attached to it and Jeremy offered the boys a chance to pop them with darts. The perks of being pastor’s kids. Thankfully, we picked up take-out from our favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner. I was ready to be chill.

Tuesday had it’s ups and downs. Jeremy took the day off. He worked on a new space for Owen’s model train. As he was preparing a piece of plywood, he dropped the board on his foot. For the next 48 hours, he monitored it to make sure it wasn’t broken. I say he, not we, because injuries like that make me queasy! I almost canceled my afternoon plans so Jeremy could go to urgent care, but Jeremy promised me he was fine. Limping, but fine. I had a dentist appointment in the afternoon. The people at the dentist office are lovely, but no matter how kind they are, I dread going to the dentist. My reward after the dentist was meeting up with my forever friend, Christa, for coffee (actually, neither of us had coffee, so we met up for hot beverages). Time with this sweet friend is always a treasure! And a whole afternoon of being kid-free was amazing! I love my kiddos, but homeschool life has made me appreciate my kid-free time on a deeper level.

Our next big adventure was Thursday. My forever friend, Maggie, and I had plans to take our kids mini-golfing. It also turned out to be Red Cup Day and bonus – there was a Starbucks right across the street from the mini-golf course! I’m sure Maggie and I will meet up at Tower Lanes Entertainment Center again. What’s not to love about indoor mini-golf, bowling, and an arcade? We only did mini-golf on Thursday, but we’ll have plenty to entertain us for future outings. Maggie and I love red cups from Starbucks. We love to celebrate this special day, but very rarely do we get to celebrate it together. My kids were equally as excited for Red Cup Day as I was. It felt like I was doing something right in my parenting! We also picked up Christmas jammies on Thursday and started listening to Christmas music in the van. We haven’t started decorating for Christmas yet, but we are easing our way into the holiday season and I’m all for it!

We wrapped up our week with a homeschool field trip to a local creation museum. The museum curator gave a presentation on how Mt. St. Helens can support the young earth theory. I don’t get too hung up on how old the earth is, but the information was interesting. The presentation included some unique photos of the Mt. St. Helens eruption in 1980. Owen followed the presentation well and even answered some questions. Graham… well.. he wanted to get a drink… go to the bathroom… look around the museum… leave to go get lunch. It wasn’t his cup of tea, but it was nice to see friends and do an outing together.

Today is daylight savings. I don’t appreciate the adjustment of our natural schedules, but today it worked out in my favor. Both kids slept longer than I expected which meant I had an “extra” hour in bed this morning. I know that feeling won’t last and we’ll adjust, but I’m rolling with it for now. It will be nice to not wake up in the dark, but I will now ask if it’s bedtime at 5:00pm for the next few months. The older I get, the more I think I’m solar powered.

I hope your November is off to a great start! I highly recommend treating yourself to a Red Cup or new pajamas, listening to Christmas music, getting an extra hour of sleep, and having a restful day. I know my plans for the rest of the day include starting a new book and watching a Hallmark movie. Time to snuggle up with a cozy blanket and watch the rain fall outside my window.

“Helping” pop the balloons after Fall Fest
The box lied. I’m fairly confident no 4 year old could build this craft. Super cute, but a lot of work!
The new train layout in the playroom. Now to build the scenery.
Time with a treasured friend!
The mini-golfers!
Celebrating Red Cup Day with Maggie May!
The kids table!
Sharing the joy of red cups with the next generation!
Christmas jammies!
Learning about Mt. St. Helens
The first addition to the train layout. Jeremy and Owen sure know how to make a mountain!
 

Happy Halloween 2021 November 1, 2021

Like most families, yesterday was a big day! Halloween has always been a big deal to our family. Not because of spooky season, though. Annually, Jeremy plans and hosts a major holiday event for our community on Halloween. Fall Fest is a long standing tradition at our church. When I was in high school, I volunteered at this same event, but back then it was called the Fall Family Fun Festival. Jeremy shortened the title to Fall Fest when he became the children’s pastor. October 31st means big church event in our world and we were ready for it!

Last year, we did a drive-thru event due to COVID restrictions. This year we did an outdoor event for the first time. The weather was absolutely beautiful! We couldn’t have asked for a better day. We were so thankful! Jeremy had canopies over every game so the event could have been rain or shine. Being in the PNW, we roll with wet weather, but I’m glad we didn’t have to! Another fun element of Fall Fest this year was the Candyland theme. The decorations and games all revolved around the classic candy-themed board game. The boys and I arrived early in the afternoon to help Jeremy set-up. Pastor’s kid privileges meant our kiddos got to test out the games before it got crowded. They even got an extra long jump in the inflatable bounce house. The boys were very helpful in the set-up process. I love that we are at an age when were we can serve our community together as a family.

While Halloween and Fall Fest were the highlight of the week, I also had some fun moments with a few mom friends. On Monday, I did a book swap with a friend. She came over to look over my home library and share some of her books with me. It’s always interesting to see what books we’ve already read and what books we can introduce each other to. It’s a rewarding challenge! In the theme of books and friends, I went to the 30th birthday party of a good friend this weekend. The guests were asked to bring a wrapped book for a gift exchange. The exchange was a classic white elephant style, but instead of gag gifts, it was everyone’s favorite books. The party was kid-free and the time to chat with other mom friends was priceless. I even road out to the party with another friend so I could get more kid-free socializing into the night. What’s not to love about books and kid-free mom time with friends. Such a special treat!

As I reflect on this last week, I’m so grateful that Fall Fest went so well. I am thankful for the friends and community we get to do life with. It’s mind-blowing that we now find ourselves in November! We have so many fun things ahead. I have a few coffee dates on the calendar. Red Cup Day at Starbucks is right around the corner. We have some homeschool outings planned with other families. And… we have Disneyland on the horizon! So much to be thankful for as we make our way toward Thanksgiving! I’ve added a gratitude practice to my daily journaling as effort to find and remember the good moments scattered throughout each day. I’m not immune to the struggles and challenges of these different days. When things seem hard or overwhelming, I fall back into thankfulness. Oh! That’s another blessing in November – falling back with daylight savings. I used to love falling back just as much as I loved Christmas (before kids). Now… it’s not quite the holiday it once was, but I still get excited for it. I’m certainly counting my blessings as we head into November.

Graham helped me make this super tasty pumpkin cake. He requested no frosting but I couldn’t agree to that. We compromised… and then he didn’t eat any of it. No worries! I ate all the unfrosted pieces with the extra frosting I had leftover.
This playroom usually looks like a bomb went off it in. I can accept they worked hard to creatively make this mess. The fun discovery this week was Mario Kart Hot Wheels cars. They used birthday money and their first-quarter-of-school reward to start a collection of vehicles.
Taking on the world together! These ninjas had a fantastic Halloween!
If you give a kid a sword…
Setting up for Fall Fest. Every year I wear a headband as my costume. This year I rocked the Minnie Mouse ears leftover from the boys’ birthday party.
Jeremy as King Candy! Seems fitting as the leader of this candy-filled event.
Donut Hole Game
Classic fishing pond with a licorice twist!
Graham got warm during set-up and took his costume off. I couldn’t get him back into it for the actual event. Graham was his own person for Halloween.

 

October Outings October 18, 2021

Filed under: Family Time,Homeschool Adventures,Parenthood,Travels — Amy Scott @ 2:08 pm

After a long weekend of birthday celebrations, it was hard to get back into school mode last week. We were all in a haze from the big weekend and recovering from all the fun we had. School is going well, but we definitely moved at a slower pace. I have to remind myself that it’s okay if school takes a while. Especially, since some of Owen’s work is time-consuming at the moment (example: three-digit math – I know it’s important to know how to do it, but seriously, a calculator would speed things up). School isn’t something to race through. Going slow pays off when practicing new concepts. It’s good for me (and the kiddos) to take a deep breath, slow down, and have small breaks. The pace this year is different with two elementary school kids and I’m still adjusting to school taking a bit longer than last year.

We wrapped up school on Thursday and took off for an adventure! My forever friend, Maggie, asked me if I would be interested in meeting her and her kiddos for play dates in Tacoma semi-regularly. Maggie and I are good about getting together in-person, but we always do it kid-free. Our kids hadn’t been together in the last five years. My kids know who Maggie is because I talk to her and get together with her regularly . Equally, her kids know who I am, but we’ve never all spent time together. I love the idea of my kids having memories with Maggie’s kids. Our first adventure took us to the Tacoma Nature Center. The rain held off long enough for us to explore the trails around Snake Lake and play at their discovery pond play area. The nature center has a small indoor display of a few turtles and a frog which the kids also enjoyed. It was so fun to have an autumn outing with this family. I am looking forward to more adventures in the future.

Friday was pumpkin patch day! Now that we don’t have field trips to the pumpkin patch planned for us, it can be a bit overwhelming to decide which patch to visit. We have plenty of nice ones locally as well some larger, fancier ones out of the area, but still close enough to travel to if we wanted. We decided on a local patch in Centralia this year. The boys had a blast picking our their big pumpkins and taking pictures with the wooden displays throughout the field. We ran some errands afterwards and picked up doughnuts for a treat and pizza for dinner. It was a very good day!

Saturday we celebrated Papa’s birthday with a family dinner. We reminded the boys to wish Papa a happy birthday right away, but Graham went off script and greeted Papa with countdown to his own birthday instead. (Graham is a walking countdown right now, tomorrow is the big day for him). The kids got cousin play time which is their version of heaven. For the second Saturday night in a row they got to run around after dark with flashlights. Nana made a tasty meal of meatloaf and offered three kinds of pie for dessert. The adults played games inside while the kids ran amok outside. It was a wonderful evening to celebrate with Papa!

Yesterday was pumpkin carving day! The boys used their new Halloween pajamas as inspiration for their pumpkins this year. I don’t usually get Halloween apparel since we don’t do spooky, but these jammies are just happy little jack-o’-lanterns. I couldn’t resist. Pumpkins have a special place in my heart. Jeremy kindly carved the faces the boys selected. I scooped out two of the three pumpkins we carved. I don’t mind the squishy, smelly insides of a pumpkin, but it makes Jeremy gag. I always feel sorry for him on carving day. We ran out of time so Jeremy’s pumpkin is still a blank slate waiting for his inspiration. Jeremy always carves the best pumpkins whereas mine always look quite similar each year. This year I went for a round nose and a toothless smile. Mixing it up just a bit, but I am in no way a pumpkin artist.

Graham’s birthday is tomorrow! We are looking forward to a family day together to celebrate. I’ll share all about it in my next post. As for the rest of October, I still have plenty of seasonal baking that I’m daydreaming about. Jeremy has two major work events coming up. I have an online conference this coming weekend. We have some plans with friends to look forward to. October is always a full month leading up to Fall Fest on the 31st. The kids already have their costumes purchased and ready to go. Lots of October outings and adventures are still in store!

I couldn’t resist these pajamas! Too cute!
Visiting the Tacoma Nature Center
Checking out the turtles
Exploring the trails
Playing at the nature-inspired playground
Just two moms trying to catch up while keeping tabs on their kids!
Out to find the perfect pumpkins!
Say “Pumpkin Patch!”
Ready to go!
Happy Birthday Papa!
Carving time!
The boys and their pumpkins
Pumpkin pajama inspiration
My happy little pumpkin
 

Three Days of Birthday Celebrations! October 11, 2021

Filed under: Family Time,Homeschool Adventures,Parenthood,Travels — Amy Scott @ 2:40 pm

October is always a month full of birthday celebrations. I absolutely love it! Birthdays are a big deal to me. I want to make them as special as possible. Homeschooling has some big perks when it comes to birthdays. Instead of sending a treat to school with the birthday kid and seeing them at the end of the day, we can change our homeschool routine and have a family adventure. Homeschooling allows you to include life experiences as a part of your curriculum – so birthday adventures count as field trips. It’s a win-win!

Our birthday celebrations kicked off on Thursday when we had dinner with my family. The boys picked their favorite meal of Papa Murphy’s pizza. Owen picked brownies for dessert and Graham picked cinnamon rolls. Jeremy and I talked the boys into a Mickey Mouse themed birthday this year. Six and eight might be a bit old for Mickey, but 1) they still watch Mickey Mouse and 2) we used the theme to announce our trip to Disneyland next month. Since my parents are joining us on our Disney adventure, we thought this family dinner would be a perfect time to share our big news. Jeremy programed Alexa to tell the boys that we are going to Disneyland. The kids sat silent after Alexa told them they were going to fly on an airplane to meet Mickey Mouse. They weren’t sure what to make of it. After reassurance that this was in fact true and a few YouTube videos to show just how awesome Disneyland is, we had some very excited kids (and adults, too)!

Friday was Owen’s 8th birthday! Within the realm of reason, we allow the boys to pick their birthday adventures. Owen asked to visit the Space Needle. He also really wanted to see Sounder and Amtrak trains in Seattle. Jeremy and I haven’t been to the Space Needle since we were dating and it’s changed a lot since then! In the gift shop, the kids enjoyed the display of a giant Space Needle made from LEGOs, complete with figures looking out of the observation deck. The elevator ride was also a huge hit. The highlight of the outing was the lower deck which features a revolving glass floor. The kids thought it was so neat to look down below and watch the world slowly moving. Owen selected Chipotle for lunch and chocolate cake for dessert at The Cheesecake Factory. It was a very fun adventure! And yes, we did see the much anticipated Sounder and Amtrak trains as well. I know you were wondering!

Jeremy informed me that Owen is halfway to getting his driver’s license and I just can’t even process that! Owen is still obsessed with trains – a love that started young and has only deepened with time. His favorite subject in school is science with social studies coming in second. He feels a great sense of love and responsibility for his chickens, especially the three youngest (who he views as his babies). Owen is super creative and loves to build with LEGOS, Hot Wheels tracks, and train tracks of kind. He is usually up for any adventure, but is also content to be at home. As much I wish I could rush through bedtime, he is my kid who always asks to snuggle. It’s been such a joy to watch him grow into the cool kid he is today and I am excited to see where the future takes him!

Saturday was a birthday bash with Jeremy’s family. Our kids absolutely love cousin time so this celebration was a big deal to them. They were jazzed for playtime with their favorite people. The party was fairly standard – a piƱata, snacks, gifts, and dessert. I might be a baker but I know my capacity during a busy week. Instead of homemade goodies, I attempted to elevate Costco muffins into “Mickey Muffins.” The boys adore Costco muffins and the leftovers would act as breakfast for the following week. It was an unusual dessert choice, but it worked. (Remember, we had cinnamon rolls on Thursday night. We love breakfast food!) One of the highlights of Saturday’s celebration was the kids getting flashlights out after dark and running around the house to surprise and chase each other. It wasn’t quite an organized game of flashlight tag, but I’m sure it’s the beginning of games like that in our future. The boys had a blast!

We still have a few more birthdays to celebrate this month, but we’re only responsible for one more celebration. Graham’s 6th birthday is a week away! We are excited for another day to break away from routine and have a family adventure of Graham’s choosing. Until then you’ll find me recovering from all the fun and munching on muffins.

A cavity-free trip the dentist on Wednesday. Owen lost a tooth last Monday and has another wiggly one almost ready to go!
Getting ready to celebrate on Thursday night!
Mickey LEGO sets were a huge hit!
Space Needle Adventures!
Space Needle Adventures!
Space Needle Adventures!
Space Needle Adventures!
Space Needle Adventures!
Happy 8th Birthday, Owen!!!
Not the classiest birthday dessert, but I think these Mickey Muffins are still pretty cute!
6 & 8 are pretty great!!!
The countdown is on!
Wrapping up the weekend with a quick visit to a local train show! Owen is currently saving and planning for model trains.
 

The Best Month of Fall October 3, 2021

It’s the best month of fall! Or really the best month of all! October is my favorite!!! I’m ready to embrace all the autumn traditions, eat all the yummy treats, revel in all the beautiful colors, and celebrate all the birthdays! (So. Many. Birthdays.) October is simply the best and it’s finally here. Some people countdown to Christmas. I countdown to October. For some this is spooky season, but we don’t really do spooky in this household. As Graham said this week “it’s pumpkin season!” That feels more accurate. Bring on all things orange!

We got a jump start on the October birthdays by celebrating with a friend who also has an October birthday on September 30th. It technically wasn’t October yet, but all three boys were less than a month away from their birthdays, so it was acceptable. It was funny because all the kids got books (shows you what type of moms these boys have). My guys got slime as a part of their gift. Let’s just say that slime isn’t a staple in our household… My boys are years behind the slime trend until now. Those containers of slime are seriously the best birthday present they ever received. Okay, not really, but they are big fans. Now that the first birthday gifts have been exchanged, the boys are anxiously counting down to their actual birthdays and family celebrations.

Our first autumn tradition of October was a visit to the corn maze. I like to visit the corn maze early in the season so it’s less busy. I’m thankful my hubby and boys (mostly Owen) love to read maps. Without them guiding me, I would wonder aimless until I stumbled on the exit by accident. The corn maze with my boys takes less than an hour and that is going through two separate mazes. I almost feel like we should do a timed challenge because it feels like a race. Left up to me, it would be a full day endeavor. So glad God made my guys with decent directional skills. They certainly make up for my lack!

Other autumn adventures for me include reading Jane Eyre for the first time. It’s been referenced enough recently that I decided I should read it for myself. Thanks to watching random movie clips over the years, I know the basic plot of the novel. If I didn’t know what was coming I would be rightly spooked from time to time. Even though I don’t do spooky, this book has those October vibes all over it.

I met up with my forever friend, Maggie, for lunch yesterday. Hashing out life with this dear friend is one of my favorite things to do! She is an amazing woman and I am so thankful we get to walk alongside each other through all the ups and downs of life. I had a fantastic mini pizza and mini piezookie at BJ’s Brewhouse. My soul and my tummy left our time together very happy!

It’s been a drizzly sort of day here despite the fact that my weather app says it’s not raining. Sundays are a favorite with me recently. We usually don’t have plans and I’m back to watching online church so it’s a good, settled in at home kind of day. I’ve done some tidying to reset for the week. I watched church while baking my October sugar cookies. Very cozy and yet productive vibes. After a couple days of back-to-back activity, it’s nice to have no where to go and really nothing pressing to do. Rest days at home are the best! And with that being said, I’m going to hunker down to do some journaling and reading. Not a bad way to spend a day!

A rare and wonderful sight! Trying my best to raise readers! This week Owen had a new book arrive and he was jazzed. Graham followed suit with his school reader.
I also made chocolate chip cookies for our birthday play date this week. A classic for company!
Love our family outings on Fridays! So much fun!
If I didn’t know the paths met up this would stress me out.
Meeting Jane
Love my time with Maggie May!
These are a few of my favorite things!
 

Visiting a Wildlife Refuge September 27, 2021

Filed under: Family Time,Homeschool Adventures,Parenthood,Travels — Amy Scott @ 6:30 pm

The highlight of our week was visiting the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge (what a long title). We had Jeremy back after two weeks of hunting. It was a lovely day for a family outing. The autumn sunshine was beautiful. We visited the wildlife refuge last November. It was a cold and wet experience. We turned around without finishing because attitudes were failing… at least, Graham’s was. Owen was super disappointed we didn’t make it to the end so a future trip was promised. This Friday was that promised trip and we did make it to the end! The warmer weather certainly made a difference. Our boys loved walking out over the water of the Puget Sound and watching the tide go out. We saw many birds, wooly worms, and even harbor seals. I haven’t always appreciated outdoorsy activities, but I’m growing in my fondness for nature. I also have a thing for boardwalks. I think they are super neat. So a long walk on a boardwalk with my family in the autumn sunshine was awesome.

We’ve wrapped up our fourth week of school. Each week brings more confidence and we are finding our groove. The week was slightly off because we were still on the hunting schedule. Jeremy was out super late on Monday night and the boys just so happened to join him that evening. Thankfully, Papa brought them home, so bedtime wasn’t super late. Tuesday was a tired day though because I had waited up for Jeremy. I can’t tell you the last time I stayed up till midnight or later! I’m officially old. Our whole family slept in on Tuesday and the beginning of our day was an hour behind our usual schedule. A bonus of homeschooling is the flexibility. I’m a structured person, but it was totally fine to start school an hour later so we could have a slower start after a later night.

Other than the hunting schedule, the week was fairly quiet. Lots of reading for me and playing for the boys. It’s been a good book month. I’m excited to share the books I read this month in my next post. The boys are super creative these days with building train tracks, Hot Wheels tracks, and making LEGO creations from their imaginations. Their creations keep them busy and entertained.

It’s crazy to believe that we are in the last week of September. Now that the end of the month is near, I am feeling much more settled. I also love that we are moving toward October – my favorite month of the year! October is filled with beautiful colors, yummy flavors, birthday celebrations, and fun traditions! There is so much to look forward to right around the bend!

Country boys in camo out hunting with Jeremy
I embraced the late start on Tuesday by making pancakes. I don’t usually make a hot breakfast on weekdays. Our schedule was already off so why not?
I had to document my last walk of summer on Tuesday evening! Rain welcomed in autumn with us the next day.
I got my haircut this week and decided it might be time to update my profile pictures since it had been a few years. Books as my backdrop seemed fitting.
Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
 

Juggling September 19, 2021

This week felt a like a juggling act. I seem to say this every September and yet I continue to forget – September takes so much energy! It’s a lot of work. I thought without kicking off a new MOPS & MOMSnext year this fall, September would be less effort… less energy? I don’t know. Just less. But September 2021 chuckled at me and went on being just like the many Septembers before it.

We finally had our first four day school week and it made a huge difference. Getting into the school routine has taken more energy than I expected. Shocking, right?! I thought we would pick up were we left off on in May. Easy peasy. I didn’t account for how much we really slowed down over the summer. Graham being in kindergarten and using new curriculum has also taken more mental energy than I realized. Three weeks in, I am happy with the direction we are headed and I am hopeful that very soon we will be settled.

Hunting season for Jeremy means lots of single parenting for me. Jeremy’s alarm goes off at 4:30am and I do my best not to let it stir me. My mind doesn’t need to be awake and processing before dawn! Jeremy sometimes comes home in the afternoon for a short break before heading back out until after the boys’ bedtime. One of my highlights from the week was Jeremy falling asleep on Graham’s bed during afternoon quiet time. Graham also fell asleep and thought it was a dream come true to have a nap buddy (those were his literal words – dream come true). Our family routine is all thrown off, but it’s doable because it’s a season.

Our Friday adventure moved to Thursday because Friday was forecasted to be damp. I knew Jeremy would be out hunting so I invited my mom along for a hike at Lewis & Clark State Park. Let me tell you, I deeply appreciate Jeremy’s sense of direction. When I’m with him, I never worry about where I’m at or if I’ll be able to find my way back to our vehicle. I had a very specific trail I wanted to hike and it was embarrassing how long it took me to find it. I also had many moments on the trail where I hoped we were going the right way (and it was supposed to be a simple loop). We enjoyed hiking and exploring a new area, but I never had full confidence as we wandered the park. Being the co-pilot is a role I appreciate even more after trying to lead the way in unfamiliar territory. So thankful my mom came along as a second adult just in cause my worst-case scenario fears came true. I’m a big fan of the buddy system. Also, my mom carries bear spray, so that’s helpful, too!

On top of juggling school, Jeremy’s schedule, and extracurricular adventures, I had a conference to prepare for this weekend. Being real here, I have a complicated relationship with indoor church. I agreed to be a part of this conference at the beginning of July when COVID restrictions were loosening. Things have changed since I said yes. I’m not the type of person who backs of out a commitment easily, but I sure thought about changing my yes to a no. Ultimately, I decided to attend the full conference despite my discomfort. It was a lot of time in a mask (worshipping in a mask is possible, but a very sweaty experience) and I was in the minority for following current mandates. It’s uncomfortable being someone who noticeably stands out. Prepping for the conference while being on the hunting schedule was also challenging, but I felt prepared by the time Saturday’s workshop arrived. My class was small. Seven moms joined me to talk about finding time with God as a busy mom. The workshop had MOPS vibes so I felt in my element. Plus talking about how I love spending time with God and giving suggestions so others can connect with God was an awesome opportunity. I’m glad I followed through on my yes, despite the discomfort.

Side note: I’m thinking of turning my workshop into a mini-series here on the blog. As I was preparing my notes I realized that these suggestions for finding time with God could apply to anyone, not just busy moms. When busyness is a barrier, it’s good to go back to the basics and keep things simple. Stay tuned! I can’t let all those words I typed sit on my computer. I want to send them out!

Despite the juggling act and out of sync schedule, I still had what I needed to to get through this week. The boys begged Jeremy to take them out hunting on Friday which gave me a big window of quiet time to prepare for the conference and to be still before lots of activity. While church is complicated for me, I loved the moments of worshipping in a dark sanctuary. I’ve missed being surrounded by loud music, raising my hands, praising God with words that stir my soul. It was sweet to revisit a spiritual practice that means so much to me. Yes, I am tired after the big weekend… and yes, I still have another week of elk season left. But today I am happy to be home, to listen to praise music as I vacuum, and to know that nothing is pressing or urgent. God has been so good through all the juggling of this last week. He will continue to sustain me through September and that brings so much peace to my heart. I can do this!

The sweet life of homeschooling. Popcorn from a science experiment and Teddy close by while working on math.
Binge reading The InvestiGators. Owen kept asking to read more chapters even though school was done. I love when a good book grabs him!
Graham was so proud to read the first story in his reader all by himself! Love seeing my kids excited to read! My bookworm heart is thrilled!!!
Feeding the monster with his reading words
Hiking at Lewis & Clark State Park
Hiking at Lewis & Clark State Park
Always drawn to water!
Hiking Buddy!
Strangest or coolest find?!?! Giant rocking horses!
When Jeremy comes home the boys are literally all over him!
Documenting my workshop before the ladies arrive
Enjoyed a cookie decorating workshop on Saturday afternoon. I’ve never used royal icing before. It was fun to learn something new, but also to have the prep work done for me. All I had to do was play! And then eat!
 

Beginnings and Endings September 13, 2021

This last week was a big one even though at a glance it might have looked somewhat average. It was far from that, though! This week could be defined by beginnings and endings. Some things are just starting and somethings have come to a close. So let’s dive in!

I’ve been praying about a big decision that I finally went through with last Tuesday. I took time to talk it out with trusted people and I sat with my decision over Labor Day weekend to see it stuck. I’ve been a part of a team that supports women ministers in the Northwest Ministry Network. When I said yes to this commitment two years, I thought I was heading into the school-age years with my kids and I would have more time to pursue vocational ministry. But… I couldn’t predict a pandemic. Because we are homeschooling, I’m still home with my kids 24/7. Also, due to COVID conditions in my area, my in-person attendance at church is limited. I’ve loved being a part of this team because the women are incredible. I enjoyed getting to know them and I’ve been inspired by their leadership. But I’ve felt like the odd duck on the team. I am not actively pursuing vocational ministry. It’s just not the season of life that I am in. I would love to be a part of this team in the future when my season of life aligns better with the purpose of the team. I’ve been feeling the conflict between the life I thought I would be living right now and the one that I am actually living in this moment. It’s okay to say that this isn’t a good fit right now, but I hope it will be someday.

The other ending in my life has been a long time coming. I finally let go of my Usborne Books & More business. For the last year, I’ve kept the business active so I could receive discounts on my personal purchases. Now the cost of keeping the business active is no longer saving me money. I’ve been a UBAM book lady for 4.5 years and I’ve loved it! I loved introducing families to great books. Our home library exploded because of this business. It was such a blessing to my family. In the season of building our house, this book business gave me something to focus on in the waiting period. It was an important part of that building season for me. I’ve collected the last of my rewards and placed my final order as a consultant. It’s bittersweet, but I’ve known the end was around the corner for awhile. I will remain a loyal customer. I truly love this company and their products. Books are the best!

Endings can be sad and it felt weird to end two things in one week. I will admit that as my commitments continue to scale back, I’m often left wondering what is God is doing. For so long I’ve been defined by all the things I’ve been able to juggle. The pandemic has certainly made my world smaller. Instead of being worried or upset, I’m choosing to see this as a strategic time in my faith journey. Letting go of things isn’t in my nature, so I know that God is teaching me and guiding me. I’m trusting that he has a purpose in all the change.

Let’s focus on the the beginnings! It’s still the beginning of the school year. Somehow I always forget how much adjusting goes into the month of September. We are getting into our new school routine. It’s mostly gone well, but I’ve learned a few things the hard way. With Owen, I had him hit the ground running with school instead of easing him back into it. Our schedule will be lighter this week. We’ve been doing five days of work in three days for the last two weeks. This week we’ll do five days of curriculum in four days. The extra day should make a difference.

I’m happy to report that Graham is beginning to read! It hasn’t fully clicked, but he has made so much progress! I’m starting to feel more confident in the program we selected and in my ability to teach him. I’m so excited because learning to read is the beginning of beautiful things! Reading is such an adventure. I can’t wait for Graham to experience the joys of reading. We’re starting small, but we’re definitely making progress! Praise the Lord!

This week we met up with a few other homeschool families to launch rockets. We aren’t a part of a formal homeschool group, but a friend of mine hopes to facilitate a monthly outing or experience for homeschool families. The boys had a blast chasing rockets through the field with friends. We used bigger engines this time and that made our rocket even more impressive than when we launched it last fall.

Hunting season has also begun. Jeremy needed a new long sleeve camo shirt and while running errands, he picked up shirts for the boys, too. They got to join him for the evening hunt yesterday. Graham talked with me for a solid 10 minutes about his adventure when he got up this morning. The highlights were seeing the other family members out hunting. He also mentioned that he would be sad if they killed an elk. I’m guessing he is going to be a social outdoorsman verses a serious hunter (at least at this at this point in his life). Hunting season can be an intense season with early mornings, late nights, and a lot of single parenting. Since Jeremy took the boys out last night, I was able to work on my upcoming workshop I’m teaching next weekend. My parents also watched my boys for a few hours this weekend so I could prepare. I’m thankful for the extra support during hunting season.

That wraps up this week’s recap. Lots of big decisions, but also lots of fun. I’m glad the school year is underway and we are finding our groove again. September always takes way more energy than I expect, but it’s full of good things and important adjustments. I am learning a lot in this season and I’m keeping my eyes open for what God is doing in my right now, right here, ordinary life. It’s good and I’m grateful!

Network of Women Ministers Team Day – November 2019
We had so much fun with the freebies I earned through my book business – June 2017
Working my book business at a vendor event – June 2017
Cookies of the Month: September! Apple Season! My mom asked if I could make a treat for her to share with friends and I thought I would experiment with apples!
We ran errands to get rocket engines and a new camo shirt for Jeremy. I joked with Jeremy that we should get pumpkin spice doughnuts from Krispy Kreme and he was totally up for it. They got our order wrong, so Jeremy kindly went in to fix things. We got the correct dozen for free! Gotta love an unexpected surplus of treats!
Getting to launch our rocket
Blast off!
Rocket retrieval
Ready for hunting season to begin!